WOMEN IN POWER
I recently featured Dr Anne Aly in the Wonderous Women Inspirational Stories. She is the Member of Parliament for Cowan, Western Australia, and I was blown away by her incredible level of intelligence, qualifications and diverse life experiences. It made me think how accomplished as a person she was, at only 51 and wondered how many of her other Politicians would be able to match her in any of these areas. Then I wondered just how many women there are representing the 50% of women in our country, and knowing it was certain to be disproportionate, I set about to find out.
Coincidentally, this morning I heard a report about the latest Australian 2016 census results, which were just released yesterday. It revealed that the average person in Australia was a 38 year old women, with 2 children who owned a 3 bedroom house. However, it also stated that the average Politician is a 51 year old male, married with 2 children, owns 2 houses, has 2 degrees, one being a law degree. Of the Politicians, at least a handful owned multiple properties, and of the 8 politicians specifically reported in Buzfeed (women and men) they owned on average 10 properties, with Barry O’Sullivan owning a whooping 30+ properties. This list did not even include our millionaire Prime Minister! Clearly the average Politicians of this country, have very little in common with the people they are meant to represent, or the census ‘average Australian’. Of course we all expect our Leaders to be of higher intelligence than the average Joe, to provide intelligent, considered leadership, but we would also hope that they have some understanding of what it is like to be an average citizen, facing real life everyday experiences.
Looking more at the actual level of representation women have in government, and hence influence in making the rules, regulations and protection of people and the environment; the reality becomes even more disgraceful. There are 151 men in Parliament and only 73 Women! That means that women occupy under a third of the Parliamentary positions! I decided to take a closer look at the number of women to men represented by each state. I found that NSW held the largest number of women at 16 and 32 men; followed by Victoria with 9 women to 28 men; Queensland with 5 women and 24 men; South Australia with 4 women and 8 men; Western Australia with 3 women and 13 men; Tasmania with 2 women and 3 men; ACT with 1 woman and 1 man and finally the Northern Territory with no women at all and 2 men.
When a person wants to run as a Politician they either need the endorsement of a Political Party, or to run as an Independent. Clearly the Political parties of Australia (and worldwide) endorse men above women, to be eligible to run for an election. Potentially there might not be as many women putting up their hands to gain pre-selection by these parties, which could also go to explain the unequal numbers. However, it is more likely to be a reflection of the ‘Boys Club’ mentality, which dominates all forms of Government and Leadership roles all over the world.
Wonderous Women is dedicated to change this situation, which has resulted in political and financial turmoil worldwide, wars and as a result, deaths of innocent people in numbers too large for a person to even contemplate. To accompany this is the destruction of the natural environment and the extinction of our animals and plants, in sickening and bewildering numbers. Its time to admit failure and move aside and let women see if they can do a better job; surely it couldn’t be worse.
So what should be done to change this, so women feel that their feminine voices can be heard, so they can take part in the vital role of making laws in our country?
There could be a law passed that says that Political parties must put up equal numbers of men and women, to potentially be elected.
Political parties should be openly encouraged to assist more women to get involved in Politics, via media advertising.
There could initially be an incentive such as one paid advertisement in pre election time, for any Party that has equal number of women and men running for Parliament.
A Law passed stating that every Cabinet formed by the winning Political Party must have all positions filled by an equal number of women to men.
Politics needs to become more inclusive and women friendly. By that I mean the needs of women should be addressed in relation to parenting, preschool or after school consideration etc., perhaps even allowing Parliamentarians the opportunity to take part via technology, so they don’t have to leave their families, except at essential times. This might also diminish the ridiculous amount of time our current politicians spend with stupid time wasting antics, trying to belittle and game play with the opposite party.
I don’t have all the answers, but one thing is sure, that this situation where women are unequally represented at the highest levels of influence in our world, needs to change, and NOW!